The Buzz

Kansas City wants access to federal security funds

Updated: 2013-09-09T18:14:45Z

By DAVE HELLING

Twelve years after the Sept. 11 attacks, Kansas City is pushing for greater access to a federal grant program designed to protect urban areas from terrorist threats.

For almost a decade after 9-11, the feds passed out billions of dollars through the Urban Areas Security Initiative, known as UASI. The Kansas City area received more than $72 million from the program, buying equipment and paying for training.

But in 2011 the feds said they would only give UASI money to the 25 most-threatened areas in the country. In FY 2013, those cities divided $558.8 million for security programs.

Most of the money, by far, went to New York — $174.3 million. But St. Louis got a $3 million UASI grant too.

Kansas City? Zip. The theory: give UASI money to the areas most at risk from terror attack. KC didn’t make the cut.

Last week councilman John Sharp complained about the decision to Sen. Roy Blunt during an appearance at the Kansas City Chamber of Commerce. We don’t begrudge those cities the cash, Sharp said, but they shouldn’t get all of it.

Blunt said he would look into it.

In 2011, when Kansas City was taken off the UASI list, city officials estimated they had about $18 million left from previous grants. They estimated it would be spent in two years, or right about now.

Friday, Sharp said he thought the UASI money was all gone, but he wasn’t sure.

The areas has spent UASI money hazmat suits, bomb squad gear, radiation detectors, even rescue boats and communications equipment, as well as training exercises across parts of the nine-county region.

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